Many employers and employees who are getting close to retirement age will remember the days when offices were equipped with typewriters, Roneo machines for copying documents, and the eternal sortie to the post office to get mail sent. Communication was by telephone and fax machine. If it was necessary to speak face-to-face with someone they had to come to the office or a visit had to be made to them.
The last 20 years have revolutionized the way businesses operate; technological advances have been rapid and have helped to drive workplace efficiency and increase profitability. In addition, life has become easier for both employees and their employers.
So what has driven these changes?
The rise of the Internet
It wasn’t that long ago that the Internet, the World Wide Web, was considered to be the domain of geeks and nerds, sitting in front of a monitor and developing ways of making both software and hardware more efficient. Thanks to them there is a huge array of devices and applications that make the workplace hugely more efficient than in the past.
Time is money
It may seem obvious but it’s true, businesses are always looking for ways to save time and become more efficient. The demise of the typewriter, efficient though it was for many years, and the rise of word processing software on computers has dramatically reduced the time employees need to spend on writing, producing and sharing documents.
Email gives instant communication and response, and though the telephone is still a useful way of communicating person-to-person it’s also easy to text from a cellphone or a tablet, which for many are the preferred means of keeping in touch.
In the past decade the rise of video conferencing has made major cuts in the cost of employees traveling to meetings with clients and customers, and by implementing such technology by way of the Internet has enabled businesses to focus their employees’ time on making more direct contributions to the bottom line. Selling and distributing goods and services is also easier thanks to modern communications.
An essential part of a good business is healthy and motivated workers. Technology can assist here with testing for drugs and alcohol, helping employees who have problems and ensuring that other workforce members remain safe in the working environment. Oral fluid testing is one of a range of options employers can take to ensure that such issues can be identified at an early stage.
The Cloud rising
All technologies evolve and change over time. Once it was enough to have rows of computers and servers on site to deliver the tech that was needed. They could be expensive to buy and maintain, not to mention the constant software and hardware updates required. The advent of Cloud computing, where information can be stored and retrieved by way of a third party provider and accessed from a range of devices, is making it even easier for businesses to become more competitive and efficient.